Magna Carta (1215)
Magna Carta. England, 1215
British Library Cotton MS Augustus II.106
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People throughout the world have heard of Magna Carta. It is often held to be the corner-stone of liberty and the chief defence against arbitrary and unjust rule in England. It contains few sweeping statements of principle, but is a series of concessions wrung from King John by his rebellious barons in 1215. Magna Carta was promptly overturned by the Pope, to whom John had given the overlordship of England. Four copies of the original version survive. Two are held in the British Library; the others are in Lincoln and Salisbury.